Pep Guardiola has heaped praise on Ilkay Gundogan.
The German midfielder has done an admirable job filling in for Fernandinho in the specialist anchor role when required – and he has impressed his boss.
“Gundogan is so clever,” said Pep.
“He plays a lot of passes; his quality is incredible.
“He arrives at the right time at right moment, he is incredible. He knows we want him to stay here.
“Of course, last season versus Spurs he played that role and played excellent. After that his quality was incredible.
“Everybody is important. Everybody has been involved over past two months. They have to show me their level and prove they’re fit in physical and mental conditions.”
Asked if it would be possible to replace Fernandinho in the future he added: “It’s not easy to find specific qualities of player – and specifically Ferna.
“After three years together, he knows everything and it’s so important, but he is 34 years old and can’t play forever.
“There are many who can play in that position and around the world most of them could play here.
“We are not going to pay £100m for a holding midfielder! At the club we have five or six options for every position.
“We have to be careful and see what we can do.”
Pep also says Gabriel Jesus is continuing to improve as he celebrates completing his second year as a City player.
He said: “I have the feeling he can improve. It’s not easy for him, to play in the same position as Sergio but there are many games. He is young!
“We have young strikers and it’s amazing for our future.
“Gabriel Jesus is always open, in training sessions and plays like it’s the last one of his life.
“He has to have the right quality, movement at the right time. I think he’ll improve and I want to help him.”